Securing a seat on the United Nations Security Council is “hugely significant” for Ireland, which will be a “voice” for other small countries, the Tánaiste has said.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said winning the UN seat was a recognition that Ireland mattered internationally.
“It’s hugely significant that a country the size of Ireland can play its part in shaping global decision-making and politics,” Minister Coveney told the Sarah McInerney programme on RTE radio.
“It’s really a recognition that Ireland matters globally. People trust us; they like us. But most importantly, a lot of small countries in particular around the world feel that we can be a voice for them,” he added.
Countries like Ireland, the Tánaiste said, would “speak up for rules-based order” for small countries at a time when global politics was “less certain and more fragmented”.
He dismissed, however, any suggestion that the Occupied Territories Bill was left out of the new programme for government because of this week’s UN vote.
The legislation, proposed by Senator Frances Black, would ban trade in goods produced in illegal settlements on occupied territory, including the Palestinian West Bank.
Minister Coveney insisted that “virtually every Arab state” had supported Ireland in this week’s UN vote because of its record in supporting a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel.
“We don’t believe it (the Bill) is implementable and it is by and large a trade issue, which is an EU competence not an Irish competence,” the Tánaiste said.
Plans by Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, he said, represented a “blatant breach” of international law and Ireland would negotiate and advocate for an “appropriate response” at UN and EU level.
“We believe that if Israel extends Israeli sovereignty to Palestinian territories it is a blatant breach of international law and the EU would have to respond to that as would the UN,” Minister Coveney said, adding it was "very doubtful" that agreement will be reached at the UN Security Council because of the repeated use of vetoes.